Zeno, a Greek philosopher, once said that people have two ears and one mouth and should use them proportionally. In essence, one should listen twice as much as they speak.
What does listening even mean though?
After doing a brief google search, I discovered that listening is simply taking notice of another and responding accordingly.
Being quiet when someone else is talking is one thing, but sometimes it isn't noticing. It's often easy to overlook small things. Looking down at your phone while your friend speaks to you, may cause you to overlook their depressed demeanor. Forgetting to thank your teachers as you leave the classroom, may cause you to miss out on seeing their smile for the last time that week.
We miss out on opportunities to acknowledge another's presence when we don't fully engage in our surroundings.
Listening demands this engagement. Whether it be through smelling the crisp draft of air as it passes through the front of the school or feeling the warm touch of our friends as they reach us for hugs - noticing helps us to more fully understand our environment and thus the context of our relationships.
Responding to another with an understanding develops meaning behind our interactions. It shouldn't be hard to understand why. When we respond to another with understanding, we show one another that we don't want to be passive. We value and care about those we pay with our attention.
I think as a campus, we could improve communication through active engagement. It's easy to discuss constants - school work, studying, grades - but does it help us understand one another as just people? Or are we finding subtle ways to compare ourselves to each other?
I think we're so caught up in a culture of competitiveness that it's often difficult to even read the body language of our peers. We're often so stressed, we forget to look out our classroom windows and watch as the pale grass and baby blue sky compliment each other at 7:45 in the morning.
Let's take a minute to breathe AOC. Breathe and engage. Look around you and be present. Stop worrying about school. Feel and be felt. Value each moment as it passes and just listen.